The ACCC will not appeal Federal Court’s recent decision to allow TPG and Vodafone to merge, a deal that will create a $15 billion telco.
Last month the court ruled that the deal would not substantially lessen competition in the telco market, because TPG was unlikely to become a serious fourth player in the market – rivaling Optus, Telstra and Vodafone.
In May 2019 the competition and consumer watchdog announced it would oppose the merger, arguing that it would prevent TPG entering as the fourth mobile network operator in Australia.
The ACCC considered that TPG was likely to continue to roll out its own mobile network and become an innovative and disruptive competitor in Australia’s concentrated mobile telecommunications market.
In February the Federal Court sided with Vodafone and TPG, giving them the green light to proceed with the deal.
Today the ACCC said it has concluded that it does not have grounds for appeal, which would require the ACCC to establish an error of law by the judge.
“The ACCC remains disappointed by this outcome, which has closed the door on what we consider was a once in a generation chance for increased competition in the highly concentrated mobile telecommunications market,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
“The future state of competition without a merger is uncertain. But we know that competition is lost when incumbents acquire innovative new competitors.”
“Despite this outcome, we will continue to oppose mergers that we believe will substantially lessen competition, because it’s our job to protect competition to the benefit of Australian consumers,” Sims said.